Sep 25, 2023  
2014-2015 EIU Undergraduate Catalog 
2014-2015 EIU Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Link to Honors College Website

Honors College

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Richard K. England, Dean
Thomas M. Spencer, Director of Honors Student Affairs
Sara M. Schmidt,
Academic Advisor

General Mission

The Honors College is a center for academic excellence and leadership within the University. The Honors College encourages academically talented students to develop to their full potential through completion of suitable coursework in small classes taught by excellent faculty. Dedicated to nurturing students intellectually so they are equipped upon graduation to pursue their interests, the Honors College also encourages undergraduate research and creative activity, community service opportunities, study abroad experiences, and professional internships. This provision of an integrated academic experience contributes to Eastern Illinois University’s acclaim as a university accomplished in teaching and research and focused on its graduates’ success.


The Honors College offers academically talented students the opportunity to participate in six distinct yet complementary programs: University Honors, Departmental Honors, Presidential Scholars Program, Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Activities, National Student Exchange, and national scholarships competition. Though all programs are housed in the Honors College, the last three are open to members of the general student body.  

University Honors

The University Honors Program primarily offers enriched and rigorous versions of General Education courses, though a limited number of courses outside general education are also provided. Honors course sections are typically smaller and taught in a colloquium format by professors distinguished in their fields. Completing Honors coursework prepares students to compete at the highest levels for career opportunities and graduate school placements. University Honors students complete a minimum of 25 hours of Honors courses, including the Honors Forum and an Honors Senior Seminar. Typically, the first 21 hours of Honors credit are earned by the end of sophomore year. A grade of C or better is required in all University Honors coursework.

Admission Criteria

Entering freshmen must meet two of the following criteria, for admission to University Honors:

  • ACT composite score of 26 or higher, or SAT score of 1760/2400 or higher.
  • Upper 10% of high school graduating class, or a 3.5 final high school GPA (on a 4.0 scale).
  • Permission of the Dean of the Honors College.

Continuing students at EIU, and transfer students*, may be admitted after meeting the following criteria:

  • Attainment of a 3.5 GPA for at least 12 hours of coursework taken at EIU (continuing students), or a 3.5 GPA, figured on a 4.0 scale, for all transfer coursework (transfer students)
  • Permission of the Dean of the Honors College.

*Transfer students must also have a transcript evaluation prior to admission.

Departmental Honors

The Departmental Honors Program encourages students to delve deeply into areas of personal interest within their selected fields, preparing them for the competitive post-graduation world by promoting focus and independent research and analysis. The program requires a minimum of 12 hours of credit, derived from completion of progressive coursework that culminates in a senior thesis written under the supervision of Honors faculty. A grade of C or better is required in all courses counting toward Departmental Honors. 

Below is a list of departments sponsoring Departmental Honors, and faculty serving as program Coordinators:

Departments & Coordinators 
Applied Engineering & Technology, Dr. Rigoberto Chinchilla
Biological Sciences, Dr. Karen Gaines
Business, Dr. Heather Jia
Chemistry, Dr. Mark McGuire
Communication Disorders and Sciences, Dr. Angela Anthony
Communication Studies, Dr. David Gracon 
Economics, Dr. Ali Moshtagh
English, Dr. Dana Ringuette
Family and Consumer Sciences, Dr. Katherine Shaw
Foreign Languages, Dr. Stephen Canfield
Geography, Dr. Belayet Khan
Geology, Dr. Craig Chesner
History, Dr.Joy Kammerling
Journalism, Dr. Eunseong Kim
Math, Dr. Yevgeniy Gordon
Music, Dr. Luminita Florea
Philosophy, Dr. Gary Aylesworth
Physics, Dr. James Conwell
Political Science, Dr. Melinda Mueller
Psychology, Dr. William Addison
Recreation Administration, Dr. William Higelmire
Sociology, Dr. Lisa New Freeland
Special Education, Dr. Kathlene Shank
Theatre Arts, Dr. Jean Wolski

Admission Criteria

Departmental Honors is open to students meeting the following criteria:

  • Attainment of a 3.5 GPA for at least 12 hours of coursework taken at EIU*.
  • Fulfillment of all requirements specific to the Departmental Honors program of choice.
  • Permission of the Dean of The Honors College and the Departmental Honors Coordinator.

*Transfer students who have not completed 12 hours at EIU may be admitted under the recommendation of the Departmental Honors Coordinator.

Presidential Scholars Program

The Presidential Scholars Program is a concentrated academic leadership experience that fuses ambition with ability. Attracting the best, brightest, and most determined students, the Presidential Scholars Program provides substantive opportunities for personal, academic, and pre-professional growth. Individualized faculty mentoring, mindful exploration of self-initiated academic goals, and flexible sequenced programming allow Presidential Scholars to plan their undergraduate academic career with an eye toward graduate study and/or professional practice. As Presidential Scholars, students complete the University Honors Program, HON 1191–Honors First-Year Seminar, and a self-selected Honors experience designed to provide meaningful personal, academic, and/or pre-professional challenge. In exchange for meeting the high expectations of the program, Presidential Scholars receive tuition and fee coverage for up to eight (8) semesters [See Honors Scholarships, below, for more details.]

Application Criteria

Incoming freshmen may apply for the 4-year scholarship if they meet the following minimum qualifications:

  • 30 ACT, and either a 3.5 GPA or rank in the top 10% of the high school graduating class.
  • 28 ACT, and either a 3.75 GPA or rank in the top 5% of the high school graduating class.

Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activities

The Honors College offers opportunities for faculty mentoring of student research, scholarship, and creative activities in order to foster collegial relationships and support teaching-learning experiences. Each semester, the Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity Committee awards grants to students and their faculty mentors in support of student-initiated collaborative research. Students are held to professional standards, co-author publications and presentations, and gain a heightened awareness of the work required in graduate study and the professional world.

Application Criteria

Any student currently enrolled at Eastern Illinois University with a minimum 3.0 GPA or higher may, with a faculty mentor, submit a proposal.

National Scholarships

The National Scholarships Program at Eastern Illinois University actively supports students whose exceptional academic performance, extensive service history, significant leadership experience, and focused graduate school and career aspirations distinguish them from their peers. The Honors College provides mentorship to students interested in pursuing several major awards, among them the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, and the Marshall Scholarships. Through mentorship, the Honors College affords students the opportunity to grow their self-awareness, general field awareness, and specialty awareness while gaining advanced practical experience in self-promotion through written and oral communication. For additional information about the National Scholarships program, including eligibility requirements for various awards, current students and recent EIU alumni should contact the Honors College Academic Advisor.

National Student Exchange

The National Student Exchange (NSE) is a program for undergraduate exchange within the United States and Canada. Instead of crossing oceans, NSE students cross state, regional, provincial, and cultural borders. The changes seen in attitudes, understanding of other people in other settings, maturity, risk-taking, and decision-making are similar to the experiences of students who study outside of North America. The application process includes at least the following minimum eligibility criteria established by NSE: Full-time enrollment, cumulative 2.5 GPA, and good standing (academic, personal, and financial). All EIU students meeting these criteria are eligible to apply.

Honors Scholarships

Incoming Freshman Scholarships

Presidential Scholarships:  The twenty incoming freshmen admitted each year to the Presidential Scholars Program are awarded financial assistance for a flat amount of $5,500 each semester ($11,000 per year), for up to eight semesters of eligibility. Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.4 or higher to retain their eligibility. Application materials are available in the fall.

Honors College Talented Student Awards:  These awards are intended to promote the development of unique student academic talents. Incoming freshmen who qualify for admission to the University Honors Program may apply. Students who have demonstrated excellent scholarship as measured by ACT and high school class rank or GPA are eligible. This award may waive a portion of tuition for up to 8 semesters. Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.4 or higher to retain their eligibility. Application materials are available in the fall.

President Doudna Memorial Scholarship:  Students who are first semester freshmen at Eastern Illinois University and who have graduated from an Illinois high school may apply. Application materials are available in the spring.

Continuing Student Scholarships

John L. Whisnand Scholarship:  Students attending Eastern Illinois University may apply. Application materials are available in the spring.

Honors College Scholarships for Current Honors Students:  The following scholarships are open to students with a cumulative GPA of 3.4 or higher attending Eastern Illinois University who are enrolled in the University Honors or Departmental Honors programs and have demonstrated academic excellence. Honors students only need to complete a single application to be considered for these scholarships. Applications are available in the spring. Students must reapply annually:

  • Charles O. Austin, Jr., Scholarship (for Study Abroad)
  • Dorothy Davis Bunge Scholarship (for residents of DuPage County)
  • First Neighbor Bank Scholarship
  • Rachel A. Richardson Scholarship

More information and applications are available on the Honors College web site:


Thomas Hall has designated Honors-priority floors. Honors students who wish to surround themselves with other academically oriented individuals, in an atmosphere conducive to learning, may request these floors in Thomas Hall.

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